Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Groot River, Western Cape, South Africa

Species: Smallmouth Yellowfish (labeobarbus aeneus)

The Groot River is a tributary to the Gouritz that runs through the Western Cape. This once flowing river has been dammed up and now only runs in flood.

As a young man I used to fly fish the river post-flood with small streamer patterns with much success. Most specimens were juveniles of about 200 grams and did not prove to be too much of a challenge to land on any outfit.

And so it was in planning this trip that I had to re-apply my mind to the dainty art of stream fishing. I began by purchasing a book on the subject and speaking to various anglers, but not much information could be gathered about catching these particular fish in standing pools or in this particular body of water.

Ignorance is bliss

Feeling even less confident than before, I set off to the small town of *Excluded*, and on arrival was less than pleased with the conditions. The temperature had dropped from 30's the previous week to a chilling 15 degrees with about 20 knots of wind, not ideal for river fishing.

Keeping this in mind I tied on a small wind beetle imitation and began working the fly parallel to the reed banks. After an hour or so I figured it would be better to go sub surface. I tied a nymph about a foot and a half down my tippet from the beetle and continued...

Three casts later I had my first fish, a small juvenile of about 150 grams.
Feeling as though I was on to something I went about re-tying my leader in the appalling conditions.

Game Plan

This time I opted for a lightly weighted gold headed and bodied nymph about 10 feet from the end of my floating fly line, and a further foot and a half down I tied a gold headed brown winged nymph.

This produced almost a fish every five casts and worked along the reed banks with a slow 3 inch per second retrieve seemed to be deadly.

I will be returning to the river when the Acacia trees blossom and the fish begin rising to the feeding insects for a shot at these magnificent fish on dry fly.